Having it all: How to balance parenthood and a career

Benjamin Kluwgant · 10 Feb

Having a successful professional career and excelling in your duties as a parent are not mutually exclusive. But, balancing both effectively requires meticulous planning, a healthy mindset, and learning how to make sacrifices.

When someone is sincerely devoted to their career, deciding to start a family and joining the ranks of working parents is a very difficult choice to make.

The fear of allowing parenting commitments to stand in the way of achieving career aspirations is daunting, and the pressure of giving your child a good life can feel insurmountable.

But, while there’s no denying that it isn’t easy, with the right balance and mindset, achieving your career aspirations while being a good parent isn’t only achievable, but the two commitments have the ability to complement each other.

Balancing a career and parenthood is non-denominational  

Before describing the benefits that parenting can bring to a person’s career and outlining some ideas that can help aspiring career oriented parents find the right balance to be successful at both, it’s important to set the record straight.

Much of the literature that has been written to offer support to people who are balancing parenthood and careers is very female oriented – assuming that women are the only people in society that bear the burden of parenting.

But in 2020, there is no place for any such assumption. Irrespective of what gender you might identify with, everyone should be equal when it comes to making the choice to become a parent, and the challenges of balancing a career and parenthood are relevant across the board.

Being a career person and parent teaches compassion

Business can be very cutthroat at times. There is a lot of competition, and people who take their careers seriously can sometimes lose themselves in the mercenary parts of business and forget about the human elements entirely.

One of the great benefits of being a parent with a career is that the parenting side of things helps you value the virtues of compassion and sensitivity and encourages you to incorporate them into your life as a businessperson as well.

In order to be nurtured, children need to be shown a lot of care and support – and businesspeople who have those types of virtues in their wheelhouse tend to be far more well-rounded than those who don’t.

It’s all in the planning

Successful businesspeople are organised. They have their daily schedule arranged, their extracurricular activities planned and always stay a few steps ahead of the game. A lack of structure and contingency planning leads to a mess which is impossible to stay on top of.

If you are to be a successful, career oriented person who remains devoted to their family, the same planning that goes into your business life must be practiced in your parenting.

A great way to achieve this level of organisation is by using the same methods to organise your parenting commitments that you would for work. Put events in your calendar, set yourself reminders and follows ups, allow for preparation time and always have a back-up plan.

Being organised means thinking ahead and staying on top of the little details. It means preparing your child’s (or children’s) meal schedules in advance so you know how much time you need each night. It means having a number of family members or friends who can do school pick-ups during work emergencies.

If you can plan your parenting moves meticulously and have a suite of contingency plans up your sleeve, staying above water becomes a whole lot easier.

Keep a healthy mind and body

Without keeping your mental and physical health in check, trying to balance work and parenting is asking for trouble.

Thriving in a job and being an active parent requires stamina and stability, both of which are generated through adequate self-care.

While it might sound trivial, eating healthy, exercising and doing things to take care of your mental health are all habits that equip you with the ammunition you need to thrive in all areas of life ­– parenting and working included.

Having it all doesn’t mean doing it all

Even if you’ve got everything planned to a tee, have binder books filled with back-up plans and are careful about your health, sometimes, you’ll be forced into choosing between a work commitment and a parenting one – and one of them will have to give.

There will be times where parenting takes priority, and others where you’ll need make the executive decision to stay at the office. Regardless of which one takes precedence, when living a life of devotion to your career and family, it’s important to remember that sacrifice is okay.

Sometimes, you’ll miss a night of tucking your child in to bed, a parent teacher interview, or board meeting at work – and that’s okay. Knowing that it’s okay to make sacrifices for the greater good is all part of leading the double life of a parent and career driven person.

Perkbox can help you keep balance

Here at Perkbox, we understand the challenges associated with being a devoted parent and career person, and our benefits platform offers a range of perks that can help lessen the load and make things easier for those trying to find the right balance.

For career-driven parents who want to plan healthy meals for themselves and their children, our Hello Fresh perk is great value. It offers fresh ingredients and easy-to-follow recipes to your door on a weekly basis so you can spend less time in the kitchen and eat wholesome, delicious meals. Physical health is covered too, with ClassPass, gyms, online options, and more. 

De-stress and sleep better with Calm, the number 1 meditation and sleep app, through a premium subscription via Perkbox. 

And lastly, get more out of your time with your kids! Weekend activities, entertainment, family getaways and more are all available through Perkbox.